SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
This week’s episode of WWE Smackdown features Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns as guests on Chris Jericho’s Highlight Reel. Also on the card: Kalisto vs. Neville in a United States Championship Match, and A.J. Styles makes his Smackdown debut.
WWE Smackdown review
January 28, 2016
Taped 1/26/16 in Tampa, Fla.
Aired on USA Network
By Greg Parks, PWTorch Columnist (Twitter: @gregmparks)
– WWE Open.
– Clips aired of the Royal Rumble match from this past Sunday, then they showed how the Fastlane main event came about on Monday night.
– Smackdown Open.
– After fireworks shot off inside the arena, the announcers plugged Chris Jericho’s Highlight Reel for later on in the show, with guests Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns.
– In a U.S. Title Match, Kalisto (whose graphic makes him look like a 300-pound monster) vs. Neville.
– Out first: New Day. As they entered the arena, Mauro Ranallo, Byron Saxton, and Jerry “The King” Lawler were show at the announce desk. The announcers threw it to highlights of The Rock’s promo from Raw, complete with New Day interruption, llama penis references, and Usos attack. Big E. took the mic first and said The Rock should be ashamed of himself. Kofi Kingston said they simply wanted to enlightened The Rock on Monday. Xavier Woods said unlike them, The Rock has no gold. Woods scolded The Rock for using non-PG language on a PG show. Why must they keep reminding us that the show is PG? Is this supposed to be a wink and a nod to the audience as if to say, “hey, we know it’s PG, it’s the best we can do under the circumstances?” Anyway, The Miz came out.
Miz said he knows New Day’s pain, as The Rock upstaged him on Raw, too. He said he’s a movie star and a Wrestlemania main eventer who deserves respect. The Usos came out to respond. They asked if Miz was mad and made fun of him for his outfit. Woods said Miz has the best mouth in the business. I’ll leave that one alone. He said a gold allergy runs in the Usos’ family. Kofi noted how the Usos were outnumbered. The Usos brought out Titus O’Neil to side with them. That wasn’t exactly a hot reveal. But next was Dolph Ziggler to make it four-on-four. The babyfaces hit the ring and cleared it. Presumably, we’ll get an eight-man tag after the break.
– Titus O’Neil was in a Tampa school earlier in the day. Pics and videos were shared via Instagram.
1 – THE NEW DAY & THE MIZ vs. THE USOS & TITUS O’NEIL & DOLPH ZIGGLER
The Miz had little luck in the early going against Jey Uso. Double-team elbows from the Usos. Big hip-toss from Jimmy on Kofi. Hard slap to the chest of Kofi by O’Neil. And another. The crowd chanted “one more time,” so O’Neil obliged. A poke to the eye by Kofi allowed him to turn the tables against Ziggler. Standing dropkick by Woods registered him only a one-count. Counters and reversals led to Ziggler tagging Jimmy Uso. Samoan drop on Big E. Big E. came back with an overhead belly-to-belly in the corner in which he even left his feet upon delivering it. They went to break at 4:55 of the match.
Back at about 8:45 of the match with New Day and Miz still in control. Corner clothesline by The Miz while Woods played the trombone at ringside. Enzugiri by Jimmy Uso finally gave him some breathing room. Miz tagged in, as did O’Neil, at the 10:49 mark. O’Neil ran wild with a clothesline to Big E. and a big boot to Miz. Back-breaker for Kingston. Big E. and Kingston ended up breaking up a pin on Miz, which led to the Usos getting involved. They dived onto the pair at ringside. Zig Zag to Woods. Superkick to Miz from Ziggler, followed by the Clash of the Titus.
WINNERS: The Usos, O’Neil, and Ziggler. The set-up for this as well as the match took up a quarter of the show. That’s not a complaint.
A few replays of the end of the match were shown.
– Kalisto vs. Neville for the United States Championship is next.
2 – NEVILLE vs. KALISTO – WWE UNITED STATES CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
When Kalisto came out, they showed still photos of his win over Alberto Del Rio at the Royal Rumble. Eden Stiles handled formal ring introductions for the match. Stalemate to start with both men showing their athleticism (and Ranallo dropping a Tiger Mask reference). Outside the ring they went, where Kalisto countered a powerbomb by flipping Neville into the barricade with his legs. Both made it back into the ring before the ten count. They went to break at 1:40 of the match, with both selling the effects of the quick pace in the early going.
Back at 5:02 with Neville almost getting the pin on Kalisto. Back elbow by Neville floored Kalisto. Neville put Kalisto on his shoulders and climbed to the top rope. Kalisto created some separation, and with both men standing on the top rope, hooked Neville and connected on a “super frankensteiner” as Ranallo termed it, for a near-fall. Neville was back on top before long, but Kalisto rolled through for a two-count. Salida del Sol reversed a Neville offensive maneuver for the win.
WINNER: Kalisto, at 8:46. The finish was hurt by the lack of reaction by the announcers; it also seemed to come out of nowhere. Certainly a different match, in a good way. It was interesting to see Neville play a little more heelish here.
Replays of parts of the match aired. Neville and Kalisto shook hands after the match.
– Jericho’s Highlight Reel is next.
– Chris Jericho came out for the Highlight Reel. He got a full entrance, unlike The Miz these days for Miz TV. Miz should be on the horn with his agent, pronto. Jericho mentioned Triple H winning the Rumble match and becoming WWE World Title. He mentioned the singles debut of A.J. Styles on Monday night. He also covered the main event of Fastlane. They edited a few things with Jericho here, going to crowd shots and not mixing the sound great. Sounds like they added him saying “WWE” a couple times when mentioning the titles. Jericho finally got around to introducing Dean Ambrose as one of his guests. Ambrose was carrying a potted plant. Roman Reigns was then introduced. He emerged through the crowd.
Ambrose noted that Jericho’s set could be jazzed up (no furniture and only the JeriTron) hence the plant, and Reigns brought in a stool for the plant to sit on. Jericho brought up that Ambrose and Reigns both have the chance to main event Wrestlemania and asked if that would cause animosity between the two. Reigns and Ambrose joked about what will happen when the bell rings Sunday, giving each other friendly verbal jabs. Jericho turned his attention to Brock Lesnar, the third man in the Fastlane match. It was noted that Ambrose has never been in a match with Lesnar. Ambrose said he has no time to be scared of Lesnar. Reigns said that Lesnar is “for real.” Ambrose said he doesn’t need to beat Lesnar, just Reigns. Reigns said it would be the first time, since Ambrose hasn’t beaten him before. Just before the two men got too far into it, The Wyatts appeared on the stage.
Bray Wyatt talked about slaying the Beast, Brock Lesnar, at the Royal Rumble. After some of the suual rambling, Reigns said he has no idea what Wyatt was talking about. Reigns invited Wyatt to the ring so they could talk with their fists. Bray wanted to put the heart of Reigns to the test, as well as that of Ambrose and Jericho. He said himself and two of his brothers will put the three of them down…forever. He said the apocalypse is upon them, and to run.
– After the Wyatt graphic flashed to end the segment, the announcers plugged that A.J. Styles would be making his Smackdown debut, next.
– Made official during the break: Reigns, Ambrose, and Jericho vs. The Wyatt Family.
– The Social Outcasts were in the ring. Heath Slater said that after Raw, the Outcasts should’ve been the hottest thing trending. Curtis Axel said that instead, everybody is talking about A.J. Styles. Adam Rose called him the “phenomenal anomaly.” Bo Dallas quipped that Axel’s year-long stint in the Rumble is over. Axel complained about being eliminated by Styles. He called out Styles so he could rip him apart.
3 – CURTIS AXEL vs. A.J. STYLES
When Styles came out, they showed some signature spots from his match with Jericho on Raw. Ranallo talked about calling some of A.J.’s biggest matches in New Japan. Jumping knee-drop by Styles. “Here in the WWE, the train of thought is: If it didn’t happen in the WWE, it didn’t happen,” remarked Lawler as it pertained to Styles’s career. He referenced his own career and said it in a way that, in a subtle way, could’ve given the impression that he himself didn’t necessarily agree with that line of thinking. Axel got plenty of offense in, including a dropkick and a back-breaker. Styles came back with offense of his own. Springboard, second-rope Pele kick to Axel. He fought off interference from Slater, Rose, and Dallas outside the ring. Fisherman suplex by Axel was blocked and another Pele kick connected. First Styles Clash in WWE finished off Axel.
WINNER: Styles, at 3:22. No problem feeding the Social Outcasts to Styles at this juncture, and they made him look good by having him fight off the entire group during the match, with relative ease.
The Styles Clash was replayed.
– Charlotte and Ric Flair were walking backstage. They’re out, next.
4 – CHARLOTTE vs. NATALYA
Natalya cut an inset promo about coming back from injury and how she’s ready to dive right back into the Divas division. Natalya and Charlotte traded arm-work on each other. Basement dropkick by Nattie, but Charlotte got to the ropes for a break when Nattie tried to capitalize. That allowed Charlotte to connect on a big boot. Abdominal stretch by Charlotte. Charlotte rolled through a backslide attempt and dropkicked Natalya. She hit a few chops. I don’t know if it’s the outfit or what, but Natalya looks a lot leaner. German suplex by Natalya. Ric gave Nattie a “WOOO!” right in her face outside the ring. It was enough to distract Natalya coming back in, allowing Charlotte to chop block Natalya. Figure Eight followed for the tap-out win.
WINNER: Charlotte, via submission, at 3:52. This was fine. Natalya could mean so much more to the Divas division, especially if she was allowed to actually work programs with the newcomers.
Charlotte re-applied the move after the match. Becky Lynch ran out and ran Charlotte out of the ring.
– The main event six-man tag is still to come.
– Photos of Nikki Bella in surgery were shown, as well as a Tweet from her sister thanking fans for their support.
– From earlier today: R-Truth was warming up outside the arena, as was Goldust. They were readying to go for a run. They were both doing stretches. Goldie asked Truth if he put any thought into what he asked him on Raw, but Truth said he doesn’t swing that way. Goldust reminded him that he asked about them becoming a tag team, “Golden Truth.” Goldust ended up pulling a groin and asked Truth to massage it for him. “Oldest trick in the book,” said Truth. At least it wasn’t Delicious Pretty Ricky.
– The Wyatt Family came to the ring for the main event. It’s next.
– A graphic aired for the Fastlane main event.
– Reigns made his entrance with Ambrose and Jericho already in the ring.
5 – BRAY WYATT & ERICK ROWAN & LUKE HARPER vs. DEAN AMBROSE & CHRIS JERICHO & ROMAN REIGNS
The babyfaces tried their best to control Rowan. They did okay until Rowan shoulder tackled Jericho. Harper tagged in and gouged at the eyes of Jericho. Jericho came off the top with a tomahawk chop to Harper. He tried to turn the big man for the Walls of Jericho, but couldn’t. Enzugiri, then a corner mount for some punches to the brain. Harper stopped him before ten and walked him to the middle of the ring to suplex him. The battle continued as they went to break at 3:42 of the match.
Back at about 7:30 with Rowan grinding his fists into the temples of Jericho. Pumphandle into a back-breaker for two from Rowan. Rowan was given instructions by Bray to “break his leg!” Harper caught a cross-body attempt and delivered a Michinoku driver. Jericho created some separation and crawled to make a tag. He did at 10:13. Ambrose went wild on Rowan and even dove onto Wyatt. Low-bridge sent Rowan to ringside. Suicide dive onto Rowan. Bray finally became the legal man. Ambrose surprised him with a roll-up for two. Reigns made the tag and went at it with Harper. The match broke down after a Reigns pin attempt was broken up. Superman punch Harper, but Braun Strowman pulled Reigns off the cover (even though Roman’s foot was under the bottom rope at the time of the pin), drawing the disqualification.
WINNERS: Reigns, Jericho, and Ambrose, via DQ, at 13:29.
The Wyatt Family continued their attack post-match. Harper held Reigns in the ring after Jericho was thrown over the announce table. Big Show’s music hit and he came out. Rowan met him in the aisle, but Show slammed him to the floor. He clotheslined Harper as Saxton reminded us that the Wyatts tried to take out Show a few weeks ago. Show and Strowman went face-to-face. Show ended up grabbing Strowman by the throat and pushing him over the top rope. Reigns blocked Sister Abigail and gave the Superman punch to Wyatt. Jericho and Ambrose attacked Rowan and threw him out of the ring. That just left Harper. Harper tried to go after Big Show, but Show grabbed him by the throat and pushed him into a spear from Reigns. The babyfaces celebrated in the ring, raising their arms in victory, as Ranallo plugged Lesnar’s return to Raw on Monday.
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Greg Parks has been covering WWE Smackdown for PWTorch.com since January of 2007. He is the host of “Moonlighting with Greg Parks,” a PWTorch VIP-exclusive audio show posted each weekend. Follow him on Twitter @gregmparks for live Tweeting during Raw, Impact, and PPVs, as well as other bits of wisdom. Comments, questions and feedback are welcome, and can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.